Release Mar 7 2017 | Vol10 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling it’s theme of “Revolutionize”! This volume features Pan-Africanist and Entreprenuer EmpressAK on the cover. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick: Fruiggie is Making Painting Fun & Safe; the community feature on the powerful Ezekial’s Divine Oil; Hair Feature by Mz Lady Lox; “Multiple Streams of Revenue = Wealth” by Nay Marie; “The Root of Travel” by M’Bwebe Ishangi; the delicious seafood catering and pop ups of KnicknacksBK; unique eyewear from 9oclockteeparty; the sensual scrubs, butters, and jewels of TheCelestineCollection; “#CareFreeBlackKids2k17 & Beyond” by Tajh Danielle Sutton; “#BlackLoveConvo” with Africa Jackson & Dapper Dr. Feel; our Health & Fitness Advice Columns with Trainer Clint & Delliz the Chef; Featured artist Will Focus; Must Have Comic Book: Is’Nana the Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysée; the Taji Model Winners; and more!!
Today is bitter sweet. Bitter because this is our final #MustLoveBeards profile of 2016. Sweet because we are bringing back our Taji Mag crowd favorite: Nestle Snipes. This Good Black Man is the lead photographer of Made For a King Photography. A lot has happened since we last spoke with this bearded dapper gent.
Since our last encounter, Nestle Snipes recently shot 8-Time Olympic Track & Field Medalist & Fellow Jamaican Legend Veronica Campbell-Brown and Mr. Fly Malcolm X himself was once again featured in the Hunks 4 Hope calendar, and Made For a King photography has grown its client base. You might have caught a glimpse of our bearded brother on an episode of the breakout Netflix series Luke Cage.
We already know about his stunning portfolio and philanthropic work. This time, we want to look more closely at the man behind the lens.
Africa Jackson: Last time we spoke, it was such a meaningful conversation. It was great to learn about your work to stop domestic violence and your clearly superior artistic eye. We focused a lot on your business before, and now we want to focus more on you. What makes you happy?
Nestle Snipes: (smiles) A lot of things — a healthy bond with others, experiencing nature, laying in the grass, meditation, doing something meaningful with my hands. Giving gifts and seeing the recipient smile. Laughing — I love a good laugh. I enjoy partying. If people want to be jovial, I’m down. Spending time with my mom also makes me happy.
“Our potential is limitless.”
AJ: Ok. You’re in film school, you volunteer, you’re an activist, you party, you run a successful business, you stay fly, and you let fans like me ask questions for 2 hours… but how do you take care of yourself?
Nes: Easy question. In the morning I have an hour of silence. Total hour of appreciation. Daily mantras are vital. I look at my vision board. When I come home, I listen to inspirational music with powerful frequencies: Afrobeat, electronica, jazz.
Taking care of myself also involves proper sleep. I want more people to realize that grown-ups are not exempt from naps.
AJ: Let mainstream media tell it, a good Black man is still hard to find. We know that is a myth, but in the midst of the negative energy thrown at yall, I want to know something. What is the greatest thing about being a Black man?
Nes: Our potential is limitless. We are often so revered and appropriated, but our resilience in uncanny. We convert sunlight into energy (metaphorically and literally).
AJ: So much of the miscommunication between Black men and Black women comes from lack of knowledge or lack of understanding. Black love is powerful and has the potential to grow even stronger. What is one thing you wish Black women knew about Black men to help cultivate that growth?
Nes: The Black man you interact with is only working with what he has at the moment. Don’t infringe on his freedoms based on your own desires. For example, getting work done is paramount for me at the moment. I don’t want to cheat myself or anyone else, so I may not pursue a woman. Please don’t say “all men” or “yall men”. We are trying. Don’t be disheartened by certain men who receive you wrong. Young Black boys deal with trauma that may stem from unresolved issues. Many of us had no clear definition of manhood.
“Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough.”
AJ: What is one thing you wish you knew about Black women?
Nes: How can I be more of an ally beyond taking you out [to dinner]? How can we help? Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough. We are at a loss without you telling us. The best way for Black women to communicate their needs to Black men is to do it without being condescending. Please don’t project the pain from other men onto us. In 2017 I want people to stop negative blaming and projecting insecurities. We have full autonomy. the transfer of energy matters.
“I want Black men to start protecting Black women.”
Visit Made For a King Photography and Bearded Dapper Gents to learn more about the upcoming projects of this undeniably talented good Black man. You can also treat yourself by following him on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. His new blog “Simply Snipes” is set for an early 2017 release.
Congratulations on your recent and continued success, Black man. We look forward to your next great project.
Get to know a brilliant emerging artist named Myke Archie
Happy #MCM Taji readers! Taji Mag is happy to introduce Myke Archie because we love his work & now you will too.
First of all, we’ve been fans for years. Myke Archie is the Perfect Man to buy a holiday gift from If you’re looking for a unique option this season. Check out our #MustLoveBeards profile features a down to earth Southern brother with a knack for creating beautiful works of art. He is the creator of WorkForce Comics who has been stirring up controversy all over social media. Today’s #MCM is a comic prodigy with a lot to say. His work has been featured by Polite Conversation, All Real Radio, and now Taji Mag. Especially relevant is his drive to make economic autonomy a stronger part of how his fans live.
Graphic designer Myke Archie is on the rise. He illustrates book covers, album art, posters, and logos. This Atlanta native earned his BFA from Georgia State University. Consequently, he is not the biggest fan of traditional education. He prefers to think critically rather than follow trends. Perfect Man Designs, his privately owned company, has lots of fans. The first volume of his critically acclaimed series WorkForce Comics was released 2014. It looks at the crazy ways we think about life, making money, and politics while scratching and surviving in a society that cares more about loot than love.
His work has a certain quality that is not the same as other designers. The style, the stroke, and the scope is different than any comics out there. Other influences for his work include classics like Ice Cube’s film Friday and another favorite: old school Sci-Fi thriller called They Live. Myke invites fans to listen to his playlist of artists like Isaiah Rashad, Yani Mo, Denmark Vessey, and Knxwledge. The man something special.
Myke is part of the #BlackBusinessSelfie campaign via Nay Marie’s Black Owned Business Collective. He showed off several businesses including: Freedom Paper Company, Rooted-N-Nature, Dash Motor Oil, The HXLM Collective, and of course Taji Magazine!
Support Black Owned Business – Buy WorkForce Comics
WorkForce Comics Volume 4 is set to be released this month. Until then, customers can buy copies of volume 1, 2, 3, or all three on his blog: Perfect Man Designs. Like his fan page for the latest news and exclusive content. In conclusion, respect the man’s grind.
The Joys of Jollof
If you’re planning for the holidays and you’ve never tasted Jollof rice, stop everything. Taji mag is giving you another great reason to love the continent. Africa is full of culture, beauty, knowledge, and history. Some of the best food also comes from the motherland. Although a number of West African nations argue about who created it, we can all agree on one thing for sure: it is delicious! If you like Jambalaya, you’ll enjoy Jollof (Jambalaya is actually a derivative of Jollof that came to fruition when Africans were taken from their homeland as a result of the transAtlantic slave trade). All Jollof rice around the world is not the same, but it all started in Africa because our motherland is the genesis of everything beautiful.
You can spice it up with a bit with more cayenne. Furthermore, as much as I personally like adding chicken or shrimp, you can make it vegan by omitting the chicken bullion and butter (substitute with olive oil or vegan butter). It can compliment a protein as a side dish or be the main course. Another thing to note is that everyone does it their own way. Consequently, Jollof rice is simple and flavorful because of that diversity. So, here is a version I’ve made below with my great grandmother’s instructions, because Taji is different:
Total Time: I say about an hour, depending on how slow yuh chop
Prep: Like 10 min
Cook: 45 minutes (more or less)
1 pound parboiled rice (no other kind, either)
2 maybe 3 large tomatoes, chopped fine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion, sliced
3 maybe 4 cloves of garlic
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 teaspoon white pepper
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1. Blend together yuh garlic, tomatoes, onions, and red pepper til it gets real smooth.
2. Put in your fresh thyme and white pepper.
3. Add the oil up in there, then put it to the side
4. Fill up yuh pot with 4 cops of water (preferably alkaline, but sick water is fine too I guess)
5. Wash yuh rice in hot (not boiling) water til it come out clear. Drain it real good.
6. Pour alla yuh rice into the hot water with that blended mix you set to the side earlier, stir it with a wooden spoon (any other type of spoon and yuh not doing it right, maybe yuh don’t want real jollof afterall)
7. Put the stove on like a nice heat (not all the way up high, just medium or so) and cook it like for…I say about 45 minutes or so. A good while so the flavors with amalgamate the right way. Keep your eye on it while it cooks and stir every 15 minutes.
8. Eat yuh soup
Release Dec 7 2016 | Vol9 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling it’s theme of “The Body”! This volume features actor, model, mentor, and fitness professional Clint Walker on the cover. Gracing the pages are the community feature on Maia Crown Williams and her unapologetically Black events; Black Men Smile and how they are reclaiming the narrative of Black men; “Why Shopping Black is Essential” by Nay Marie; “The Immersion Excursion: Akan Ceremony, Ghana” by Inez A Nelson; the sensual scrubs, butters, and jewels of TheCelestineCollection; “The Invisible Entrepreneur: On the Businesses We Forget and the Women Who Run Them” by Tajh Danielle Sutton; “The Significance of Dawtas of the Moon Black Witch Convention“; “Harlem Fashion Week Slays Their Inaugural Event”; “The Blackest Business Block” by Africa Jackson; our Health & Fitness Advice Columns with Trainer Clint & Delliz the Chef; the Taji Model Winners; and more!!
If you have ever visited DC’s famous Busboys & Poets for their poetry night, you have this man to thank. This week’s #MCM is Charlotte’s own Derrick Weston Brown, author of the acclaimed poetry book, Wisdom Teeth. His talent has taken him all over the country including San Francisco, Oakland, Vancouver, upstate New York, Philly, Seattle, and of course DC. This week’s #MustLoveBeards brother is the always delectable Mr. Derrick Weston Brown.
Smooth jazz made sweet love to classic prose and Derrick Weston Brown was born. Our #MCM #MustLoveBeards feature will remind you why good poetry matters.
He is more than just a nice smile and thick beard you could fall asleep in. Brown is an insightful poet with a passion for education. He has played a number of roles including poet-in-residence, teacher, lecturer, and performer. He goes by many names on social media: Fatback McGristle, Neegrolicious Jones, Nipsey Rustled, Rad News Brown. No matter what alias he sports, this brother is beyond talented. With inspirations like the Black Rooster Collective, Gaston Neal, Risikat Okedeyi, Amiri Baraka, and Sonia Sanchez, his work was always destined to shine. He credits his mother and Black women for much of his success. Let’s be real though, Taji Mag loves this bearded man because of his willingness to be emotional and vulnerable in a world that tells Black men they’re only allowed to be hyper-sexual, ignorant beasts. Word after word, his art is unlike any other creator we have come across. It also doesn’t hurt that his locks and chocolate skin are the gateway to heaven.
Advice for Future Authors
If others want to publish their first book, Mr. Brown has some sound advice. “Have a good support system who can help cut through the insecurities and doubts. Let them talk you down, and keep your ego in check. I actually turned down the initial offer to get my book published. I was worried that people would assumed someone was doing me a favor. It took me a while to come around. My loved ones gave me that reality check that I may not get that opportunity again.”
The publisher approached him again and he finally accepted that the book deal was based on his merit rather than his connections. His story is a testament to the necessity of support in our community. Support systems matter. His experiences taught him that real friends will let you know when you’re being a knucklehead. That’s what love is: when your friends are clear and honest. He admits that he would not be where he is without his close friends, family, and mentors like Dr. Tony Medina (Howard University professor), Alan King (new book Point Blank comes out in November), Fred Joiner (Center for Poetic Though in DC).
What else has he learned on this journey?
- Avoid any book contests you have to pay for! That is a trick for them to fund their publishing so they can often be shady. Use the resources/connections that you have as you’re establishing your book tour. Be very selective about your free copies and where you send your book for review.
- Libraries are you friend! Get a good relationship with the local library. It will be cataloged and could end up in libraries around the country. Be aware of your publishers’ strengths and weaknesses. How do they treat other authors? Do they have the means to push your work? Are they too big? Does your book fit their format.
- Connect with Black women! Black women are the biggest reading demographic. Get in good with the sisters and you are set. They get their children reading. They get their men reading. They get the community involved. Black women are about 60-70% of my audience.
Derrick Weston Brown is currently working on a new manuscript called “Halo of Arms“. It’s not in book form yet, but he is looking for a place this new work can call home. For the people who already know and love Wisdom Teeth, they will feel the growth in this second book. The subject matter has changed. He is less guarded and more willing to take risks. For people who don’t know him, this book breaks some misconceptions and brings awareness regarding vulnerability and Black men. He will deal with doubt, anxiety, and seeking balance.
You know what’s sexier than a Black man with a beard and a plan? A humble Black man with a beard and a plan. #MustLoveBeards
This week, Taji Mag sat down with one of Brooklyn’s finest: Thomas C. Knox, CEO of Date While You Wait. What started off as one brother at a table with a game has turned into an exciting potential prospect for New York commuters.
Most people don’t realize that the dates are not about romance at all. These dates are the first few steps to change the world. One question we will probably get from our readers is getting handled from the jump. If you want to know whether he is single, please email: info@DateWhileYouWait.com
Thomas C. Knox embodies the perfect balance of confidence and perseverance. A conversation with him is a refreshing reflection. Ask him how he got so famous and he’ll admit that he doesn’t really know. “Maybe people just have deep feelings to let out. We are all searching for ways to connect beyond a computer screen or a tweet.” As easy going as and approachable as he is, he won’t let anyone dictate the purpose of his project. In the beginning, there weren’t really any barriers. Every person did it without being solicited. They saw him sitting at a table and approached him. These days, though, the major obstacle is finding the time to make it happen.
Thomas is the kind of man who challenges everything. Equipped with the heart of a weirdo, he has managed to avoid following trends. Reciprocity, integrity, and respect are the core of everything he does and that’s something his parents taught him from an early age. Funny enough, his family has mixed feelings about him talking to strangers on the subway. “some of them are so proud of me and some of them think I am crazy.”
As a 29-year-old man who cares about the community, Thomas is on the verge of greatness. Mental health among you people is an issue he takes very serious. This project aims to address some of the issues while inspiring others to strive for the same. He plans to uplift a generation and deliver messages that make a difference. Date While You Wait continues to grow along with the spirit of what he’s doing. One major goal is to spread the good vibes so that more of us can connect in real life.
Thomas believes that building a community matters so much and we have the power to be a catalyst for real global change. Thanks to the work he has put in, more of us are willing to look up from our phone and get to know the beautiful world around us.
If you’d like to know more or want to join the movement, visit DateWhileYouWait.com or email Thomas directly: info@DateWhileYouWait.com
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE BEARD #MustLoveBeards
If you loved marveling at the regal beard of past feature NESTLE SNIPES then let us introduce you to the man who made the pomade that made us gush over that beautiful beard.
Gilbert Mathews, creator of the high quality, all natural product line Noir Classic is today’s #MustLoveBeards feature. This South Carolina family man is passionate, purpose-driven, and prosperous. In his adult life, he has almost always rocked a stunning beard. When he started in management years ago as a teenager, he was looked down on for rocking a beard. Black men already have to deal with racism in the workplace. Gilbert felt uneasy about expressing his aesthetic preference in the office because of the negative reactions from colleagues and supervisors. Eventually he cut his beard. Over time it grew back along with his resolve. Rather then continue feeling professionally insecure, he taught himself more about grooming. It was difficult to find products that worked for him. Non-Black bearded men would suggest waxes that dried out his hair. He started realizing that others were struggling with the same issues. Just like many other great inventors, Gilbert Matthews created Noir Classic to address a need.
Noir Classic offers Black men natural products with healthy ingredients made specifically for coarse, curly, and thick hair. The following products are available for purchase:
ManWash– Our sulfate free, pH balanced shampoo and body wash.
Conditioner– pH balanced, moisturizing and light weight.
Pomade– Vegan and can be used for waves, curls and to tame beards.You can even apply some to your hands to fight ash.
The sulfate free shampoo and body wash are great. These cleansers clean our skin and hair a bit too well, stripping them of the natural oils they need to remain soft and moisturized. Moisture rich conditioners made of natural ingredients that restore moisture and give our hair and beards some sheen. The conditioner will help your beard look fuller and shinier in 1 wash. Bet. Natural moisture sealing pomade with Jamaican black castor oil. Jamaican black castor oil is great for thinning hair lines, as it helps naturally reverse hair loss. You can also purchase the FULL SET here.
All of products from Noir Classic are VEGAN, paraben-free, dye-free, and detergent-free with ingredients you can pronounce.
Through Instagram and barbershop talks, Gilbert Mathews is teaching Black men how to take care of their beards naturally while supporting a Black owned business. he is changing the face of male hair care and helping to give more Black men the confidence to rock their beards. We are created from the earth, so we use all the products from earth. From an environmental standpoint, natural products are key to sustainability. In growing my beard, I searched for natural products.
MAKING MOVES FOR THE FAMILY
Gilbert talks about the importance of being an example for his children and being the type of man his wife is happy to be with. As he reflects on life before and after being married at 22, he realizes that his wife has made him a stronger businessman.. “When I was younger it was all about me. I moved to the top in my career, but as I got older and started having children I realized that the world doesn’t revolve around me. We are interdependent. My children made that clear. My wife reminds me of that when I see her shine. Now I am more engaged in helping other Black men. Black male hair care is still a niche. Black women have led the way and we have to do the same. I have gained a sense of selflessness and peace of mind through this process.” As a man who loves his family dearly, Gilbert invests time into making sure his customers are happy. Any good business man knows that treating people well leads to great results.He noted that Black men have insecurities no matter how hard they are taught to hide it. “Our head may be shaped funny, we worry about feeling vulnerable–and men who don’t use my product may have dry or patchy beards–Noir Classic is a step towards a more confident man. That confidence leads to success and I want all of my brothers to succeed.“
“Before trying Noir Classic Pomade, I had a hard time growing out my beard. I have tried numerous other beard oils that weren’t generated towards men of color. I experienced the dreaded “patchy beard” and searched high & low for the remedy. It wasn’t until I started using this product that I began to see those patchy areas fill in. It also helps that this product smells & feels amazing! I strongly recommend this to anyone looking to obtain that ideal beard of distinction.”
What tips does Gilbert suggest for emerging business owners? It’s simple: SERVICE. Service to our people is imperative. Service to the customer is essential. Put your customer above yourself and do it to genuinely take care of your people and they will take care of you.
Baltimore is a mecca of Black creativity. There have been an astounding number of artists over the years who embody that spirit. Our #MustLoveBeards profile series at Taji Mag has introduced readers to Black men doing great things around the country. It is only right that for Labor Day we introduce one of the hardest working brothers on the East Coast. Today we had the chance to converse with the creator of THE INCREDIBLE CREATION, Milly Vanderwood.
The Incredible Creation is more than meets the eye. It is an umbrella brand that works with community members to uplift entrepreneurs and help them reach their potential. The organization deals with artist management, branding, culinary arts, and professional development. When young Brother Milly was 12, he wanted to break into hip hop. He was an ambitious rapper, even from an early age. Thirteen years later, he traded in the mic for management. At 28, he is now working with a number of artists doing the behind the scenes work it takes to be successful. On top of that, he opened an art gallery last year and has become a real force in his community. Along with the recording space and a thriving cupcake business, The Incredible Creation gives life. If you’re wondering about the caliber of the artists he has worked with, check out the incredible queen YoNasDa Hill. You can also visit the site to learn more about the musicians and painters on his roster.
Like many entrepreneurs, Milly does’t follow the rules and instead takes calculated risks. He is motivated by the success of others around him and keeping his customers happy. That drive to build up his network means that he is able to create endless opportunities. His aspirations to build his business into a multi-million dollar brand are certainly attainable at the rate he’s going. Any of his 8,000+ followers can tell you, this Black man puts in work.
“I just want to do better for us / by us because who else is gonna do it? I wanna show others that anything is possible.
You don’t have to be stuck in their system or way of doing things”
Despite some initial (and ongoing) struggles to find support, he has made it work. Finding hard working people who understand the vision can be daunting, but he handles the challenge like a champion. One lesson he has learned is that not everyone who approaches you will be capable or reliable. He has had to deal with his share of disappointments, but overall he and his business have grown from the experience.
What sets Milly Vanderwood apart from all of the other people out there chasing the same dream? In his words, “I basically do what I want…I get shit done.” One of his greatest influences is Master P. and it shows. He has a diversified portfolio, he cares about the community, his work is highly respected, and his empire continues to grow.
Since GOD is everywhere, then THE MOST HIGH must be from where I’m from. #GodIsFrom
This week’s installment of our #MustLoveBeards series features Chaz Pope, “God Is From” apparel series creator. Taji Mag came across this king during our recent trip to Atlanta. We sat down with him at the Black owned business Boogaloo Lounge to find out more about this dope brother.
This Black man got into the habit of marketing when he was 13. Now at 38, he feels like he is in his groove. What most people don’t realize about him is that he taught himself how to screen print when he was 35. Most folks in their mid 30s are content to settle, but he was determined to step out on faith.
In his own words, “numbers don’t lie”. How did our #MCM get to this point though?
Once he got the idea that God is from everywhere, he reached out to a friend who owned a small corner store. The shirts sold out in an hour and he knew he had something special. He took his last $1,000 and moved to Atlanta to pursue his endeavors. After moving in with his uncle for a few weeks, his shirts quickly made that $1,000 back. He was printing bulk orders in his living room by the second month.
Once he came up with the term “God is from”, he searched for the trademark. Even with all the signs, he held on to the idea for all year before making any big moves. He started what he describes as all “shitty” website that stayed up for 7 months without really moving product the way he wanted. Then a big turning point happened. He met independent filmmaker Raxiel Sinz. From there, he met Big Tigger who got in touch via DM. Tigger, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ludacris, Adrienne Joi Johnson, and a host of other celebrities started rocking his shirts. You can even catch our ongoing #WCW Da Brat in his “God is from” gear.
Aside from building a brand that speaks volumes, Chaz also teaches entrepreneurship to youth. He acknowledges the other Black entrepreneurs he has met over the years for motivating him to aim higher. Unlike a number of young business owners, Chaz believes that we have to work together to be successful. Thankfully, his ideology is one that is starting to trend among the Black Owned Business community.